Thursday, October 09, 2008

So what do you do at a Nancy Drew convention?

I just got back from Lancaster, PA and a whirlwind week at a Nancy Drew convention. I have been going to these book collector conventions since 1997 and the number one question I get asked is "What do you do at these conventions?"

Well, in a nutshell, it is an opportunity for Nancy Drew collectors and enthusiasts to get together and talk about Nancy Drew. When I first started attending these things we would do a lot more book shopping. Ebay had not taken over the internet yet and used book stores and antique malls all over the country were a mecca for book collectors. That's a photo of Lea and me at a convention in Maine in 1997 with some great finds at a dusty old book barn.

We usually pick a location that can be tied into a Nancy Drew book location. Lancaster, PA and Amish Country are the setting for The Witch Tree Symbol, Nancy Drew number 33. So we did things that Nancy did, saw the things that Nancy saw and ate the food that Nancy ate! At a convention in the Chicago area in 2006, we had a buffet of foods that were taken right out of the text of the book, The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

Last year when the Nancy Drew movie starring Emma Roberts was premiered, we had a convention in Hollywood. Some of the speakers at the convention were producers of the original ABC Nancy Drew TV show of the 1970's. And we toured Warner Brothers Studios where the Nancy Drew movie was filmed, that's me with a display of the costumes that Emma Roberts wore for the movie!

I also took the Universal Studios tour and saw the house that was used for the 70's TV show.

This year, we had Michael Cornelius chat about the book he edited, "Nancy Drew and her Sister Sleuths," a collection of essays on Girl Detectives in Fiction and also Penny Warner, the author of "The Official Nancy Drew Handbook". Another highlight of this years convention was the artist who did the cover art for several of the Nancy Drew Files during the 1990's, Tricia Zimic. She shared with us the process that she would go through to create the paintings that would then become the covers of the books.

And occasionally, I have tried to dress as my favorite sleuth. Here is a shot of me at a convention in Florida dressed as Nancy in "The Quest of the Missing Map," I also have a really cool blue shirt that matches the outfit that Nancy is shown wearing on the cover of "Clue in the Crossword Cipher."

This year we toured an Amish Farm and visited Farmer's Markets and Quilt Shops. I found out that potatoes and pasta really are vegetables! And I tasted some of the best homemade rootbeer in the world.

We even solved a few mysteries in the form of letterboxing clues! See if you can solve these:

Raneb's Realm

Night Flight

And I am looking forward to the Nancy Drew convention next year in Las Vegas. I have already written an article about this book and location when Ryan and I spent time there in 2003. You can read it by following this link:

The Secret of the Forgotten City